moonlight ramble…

Diego (Creative Director of Burn 02) and i are sitting on my front porch…sipping  a tequila, enjoying the total quiet…Burn of course comes up even though we have both agreed not to talk about Burn…but we have a question…for you..our question to all of you is this, and it is a serious question as we often think about in our comment section, which is always the topic of conversation when it comes to change…

anyway, the question is this: why are the numbers of comments often in direct inverse proportion to the quality of the essay? exceptions of course….yet think about it…go back and look…do some quick research…not a challenge, just a real interesting thing to think about…probably a simple answer…now, sure we all to give and take a bit on my tastes etc etc..but what i am talking about are stories over time of all tastes…

by the way, this magazine would be dead as a doornail if i actually set out to consciously please this audience…the more time goes on, the less i am interested in any kind of outside support…all the more reason for me not to try to over please….yes of course i want you to be happy…but that is another concept…whomever wants to be here will just be here….no advertising, no weird pressure… the bullet: i think in the very near future i can pull the top pro talents together to create a serious tour de force and still have Burn be an all important first step for an i really want to get there photographer….seems needed doesn’t it??

yes, as usual i have crazy ideas…but as you also know i make at least some of them come true…when i was a kid , i always wanted my imagination to be real….and so thus i have lived… i have an idea, actually easy to do, that if i laid it out right now, some might just steal it….maybe nobody can steal it…all of my ideas for Burn have always been transparent….and i am sure this will be too…just need to sit on it for a few days….anyway, all to good end is always my motive….i do not need any more stuff…my porch good enough forever….i just want to work to make cool things happen….squeeze the most out of talent and knock viewers between the eyes or spawn a subtle visual sensibility….

ok, back to the porch…


641 Responses to “moonlight ramble…”

  • i sure would hate to be that essay that has a lot of comments…
    not sure really what you’re trying to get to, DAH…

    alls i know youre doing a good thing here and youve helped a lot of people.. quiet or not.

  • OK, David, since you said you were involved in making this post, I had to look. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever commented here, but maybe, who knows. That said, I have seen some of the essays/portfolios, et al, and I have been most impressed by many of them. A thought occurs to me, especially after attending the recent opening in SA. There is a vast spectrum of visual sense/sensitivity among the Burn readership, and I just wonder if the best of the work is not appreciated by many of the readers.

    I understand that that is a divisive statement, but it’s either accurate, or it’s not. It is also possible that the readership does appreciate the difference between the best and the good and see no reason to comment on the best but are quick to be supportive of the “good.”

    There is my one penny’s worth.

  • David, if the essay is good, there really is nothing much to say other than “Wow, that is good” in various forms. It’s only the ones that leave you wanting that I want to say something. For example, what can you say about the Grand Canyon besides that it is a might big hole, or that the Great Wall is a very long great wall?

    When it is a home run, we just stand there with our mouths open, enjoying the sensation.. and cheer.

  • David; “i just want to work to make cool things happen…”

    I think that should be the prime goal for every photographer; Panos and Kim have recently shown the way. Think outside the square etc.

    But also; don’t cool things happen when you just make a point of actually doing things? That (I think) is Burn’s major point of difference; things actually get done. I’m not only talking about the happenings on Burn, but the things swirling around it that have been inspired by Burn too.

    People are actually producing work; often beavering quietly away in the background. Burn also acts as a conduit; bringing so many of us together. Those meetings; whether they be actual physical meetings, or for me mostly Skype (face to face) or text, email or FB; have been hugely beneficial for me. (And probably for many of us who live way out in the hinterland!)

    They have been a spur to keep producing work; and more importantly; have given me the push to attempt to produce better work! All pretty cool things!

    If it weren’t for Burn how would I have been able to meet and actually chat to you; Panos and Kim, Patricia, Imants, Paul etc? All have been helpful when I’ve been in one of those “what the hell am I doing this for?” phases… :-)

  • DAVID,

    You ask MY old quiestion in this post. So, no answer… or no quick answer… or just painful answer.
    I’am curious what new Idea you have.

  • “why are the numbers of comments often in direct inverse proportion to the quality of the essay?”

    maybe if you look at how you phrased the question, it will provide the answer itself.

  • I’m not sure the comments serve much purpose other then to provide a core group of posters a venue to advance their schtick. Our opinions and responses are consistent, predictable. Sometimes I think we could streamline the process by simply posting our names under a topic and letting observers fill in our thoughts.

    My concern is that Burn seems to become progressively more unfocused. “Quirky” and “eclectic” can be the more respectable side of schizophrenic, and Burn feels more the latter than the former lately. While I understand that David has all kind of loyalties, I’ve always argued that the greatest value in a platform like Burn is providing a venue for the truly emerging photographers, the best of the previously “unseen” photographers out there. And while I understand the draw of the Iconic Photographers, and the way they can attract resources, their inclusion in the mix seems to me to simply overwhelm what I liked about the original concept of Burn…a platform for the undiscovered.

    Everything must evolve. Especially in Internet time, standing still is not an option. But Burn seems to be not evolving, but morphing into something completely different. And I think that a little sad, because I thought the original concept was spot on in this difficult time for serious new photographers.

  • Gracie said something very important: i sure would hate to be that essay that has a lot of comments…

    Because of the very question you asked DAH, “why are the numbers of comments often in direct inverse proportion to the quality of the essay?”

    On any given post, upon review, you will find various ones posting that day in a very different place than the one before. Folks have experienced set-backs, rewarding efforts, an emotional spill, thrill of being discovered, and all types of experiences human beings go through on any given day.

    One of the things you taught me DAH was that a photographer sees everything through his eyes so the story he tells is his own. When we view an essay or single photo we are doing the same–seeing it through our own filter. That filter can be colored by any one of the reasons mentioned above. Seeing an essay as quirky or eclectic will be decided on by the viewer’s own experiences of that phase of their day/life.

    Regarding Jim’s comments on evolving–there is a predictable evolution to any successful endeavor such as Burn. Those that have emerged yet are still not widely recognized will see it as a venue for their further emerging. I have no problem with the mix of the famous with the not famous, it adds value in that the famous see it as a viable means of getting their photos seen. It helps all of those that are truly just emerging and have yet to experience an article in National Geographic or Time Magazine.

    Personally, the growth that the study of photography and what I have learned from Burn go way beyond the fact that I have a beautiful book in the editing stages. Yes, your teaching is what helped that book to emerge. However, I believe that photography has taught me more about life and what it means to be a human being on this earth than how to take a photo or edit an essay. Photography, and the essays in this magazine, have taught me how to see life from the other fella’s place.

    I am excited to see where this goes. I remember the days in the beginning when you challenged your readers to find a name for a magazine idea you had. I remember thinking Burn didn’t quite do it for me but in retrospect it is just that. Burn has burned away the chaff and the truly emerging are doing just that. Many, many I am sure not even in the limelight getting “direct inverse proportion to the quality of the essay” comments here on Burn.

    Your giving has produced a mother lode. As is the nature of giving…

  • What a question! Why people do or do not respond to an essay depends on much, but the way in which the essay incites a reaction, and the way readers respond to it, is as informative to me as is the way I react to the essay. Quite often an essay here will be beyond my grasp, and it takes the comment’s of others to allow me to open up to the concept and context previously hidden. It’s really a simple exercise, and a surprise that this is the sort of thing I haven’t really found anywhere else but here on BURN.

    It may be tautological, but my experience has been that artists I’m attracted to are generally expressive either through the written or verbal word. They may not want to talk about their work (although many can, and do) but they can certainly talk the game. I’ve been to enough of their lectures, and read enough of their writing’s, to notice that those who have something to say through their work, can also express themselves by other means. There are many here that can do that.

    So, it seems to me that any emergent photographer who desires notice needs to be heard. Rarely does their work alone give enough voice for my full appreciation; I want to know more about them through other means. The readers here who are emerging photographers, and who do contribute actively through constructive criticism under an essay, or by musing under Dialogue, are those that have my favoured attention.

  • I don’t buy the premise. Just looking at a couple essays that got picked up for Burn 02 — Wilcox and Frankfurter — which you obviously consider among the best, I see they both got a fair amount of comment. I’m tempted to say it’s more like the safer essays get the fewest comments, but I don’t think that’s accurate either. I suspect that the ones with the most comments are typically ones in which conversations crossed over from dialogue that had little, if anything to do with the essay. And you, David, have said that you don’t understand why anyone would want to publicly make a negative comment about someone else’s work, that the hi-end professionals you know simply don’t act that way, which is a powerful argument for approbation or silence. And Bob gets so upset at anything that can be remotely perceived as negative, I worry that saying anything the least bit critical will cause him to collapse from weariness (smiley face).

    So I’m not quite clear on what you see as the purpose of comments. Are they for universal approbation? Constructive criticism? An invitation to talk photography, albeit possibly at the emotional expense of the photographer in question? Some people like criticism, others don’t. How to tell? If the choice is perceived as universal approbation or silence, of course the comments will be boring and few. But if we want an educated, open discussion of photography, feelings will be hurt. Oh what a world… what a world…

  • Jim,

    Your first paragraph made me laugh out loud. Can’t say I agree with all your comments in your second and third paras but you have put your points over in a wonderfully clear manner. Cheers.

  • . I’m tempted to say it’s more like the safer essays get the fewest comments, but I don’t think that’s accurate either. I suspect that the ones with the most comments are typically ones in which conversations crossed over from dialogue that had little..

    MW, i agree! (safer/”boring” essays =(usually) fewer comments)…
    “cool”/controversial way more comments (think MCB Libya iphone essay)etc…

  • I think there are several variables that go into the comments. The essays people really love AND hate seem to get alot of comments, as does the essays that split the groups opinion. Essays that really challenge Burn readers gets comments. The ones that seem to get passed over are the “middle of the road” or expected.

    Reminds me of one of my favorite films, Amadeus. Salieri wasn’t great, but wasn’t bad either. As he put it, “I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.” And he was forgotten.

  • DAVID,

    “….knock viewers between the eyes or spurn a subtle visual sensibility….”

    Please pardon my (predictable?) pedantry… I suspect you intended something like “spur” or “spawn” but it came out “spurn” which may not be what you intended…

    Which brings up a point about the comments and dialog… I probably should only speak for myself (but I dare to think it may be true for others) that reading the dialog here, and occasionally contributing to it, is an important part of involvement in the process of seeing, thinking about, reacting to, and learning from the photography that is presented here, about the larger world and life of photography, and about self-expression. I’ve learned a lot from the comments over the last few years, and I’ve learned a lot by commenting as well. I freely confess that I have used “Road Trips” and BURN as an arena for lubricating and polishing my own ability to write and express myself. Of course BURN is about photography, but I think the words to talk about and think about photography are important too.

    I have been impressed over and over again, David, by your tolerance and forbearance in the sometimes unseemly give and take… and your ability to juggle these forces into an utimately very positive direction. Sometimes when things turn a bit negative or abrasive in the comments or dialog I feel that is unfortunate, but in retrospect that may also be an important part of the educational and mind-expanding function of BURN. Another dimension of people learning to express themselves, and gaining a vocabulary that will enrich and “spur” or “spawn” a “subtle visual sensibility.”

    I like what Lee Guthrie, Jeff Hladun, and MW said above as well…

  • As he put it, “I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.” And he was forgotten.

    BRIAN! BRILLIANT comment! thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  • SIDNEY! Yes yes and yes!
    (ALL, plz do NOT forget to ride your bicycles from times to times -either before or after commenting its ok-and do not skip a day)
    (btw, preparing a new premiere party this Saturday im expecting some new prints in the mail and new clientele..lets see what happens in SMARTart gallery in a couple of also curious!)

  • My concern is that Burn seems to become progressively more unfocused. “Quirky” and “eclectic” can be the more respectable side of schizophrenic, and Burn feels more the latter than the former lately.
    Jim, my good friend, what is sooooo broken over here that needs so badly to be fixed????


    many thanks for catching my careless error…everybody needs a good copy editor…ironically, among the Burn staff we all agree our biggest challenge is text, not pictures….getting accurate and interesting and correct text is a mountain to climb…..your comment now resonates and is the most solid reasoning for comments that i can recall…..your perspective and opinion most valued….

    cheers, david

  • Yes, what Sidney said.

    I have to agree with much of what has been written above. Wether a flurry of comments, or only a few, both have occured with strong and not so strong essays. Controversy triggers more discussion.

    Burn has been pretty quiet as of late, maybe time to fan the flames.

  • I believe this is a lot simpler than folks think. People thrive on confrontation in these types of forums. (politics, religion, cupcake making… doesn’t matter) Forums that have nothing but happy, happy, joy, joy commentary practically do not exist. Confrontation, criticism, controversy, etc… it’s what “sells.”

  • Ha! I now see Gordon’s comment. Cheers!

  • Panos says: Jim, my good friend, what is sooooo broken over here that needs so badly to be fixed????

    Nothing is broken. It is what it is. Just a personal observation. How ever I feel about it, I think the whole “stream of consciousness” flow of Burn is by design (or maybe not :)

  • ROSS

    yes, indeed…i have been so busy lately that i have not had a chance to take a close look at what happened in San Antonio, but whatever it was the herculean marketing efforts of Kim and Panos surely defied gravity and conventional wisdom….love it when that happens……i have never heard of that many prints selling so fast…i have no idea who bought the prints , nor the prices, nor the exact circumstances, but i will know soonest…whatever the case may be , it happened ….by the way, any funds which come to Burn from the Panos/Kim effort will be applied to putting a photographer here on assignment…that is our goal, our only goal….


    first of all , super congrats on selling a print in the Panos/Texas phenomena…nice…my question was of course rhetorical…i have no need of an actual answer for there are too many variables….the rhetoric and the question arise often among us because we all feel that we wish there was more serious discussion here..not discussion on any philosophical line, but just discussion on a high plane..on the best of essays (or any essay actually), we notice approximately 10-15 comments on the essay itself and then the chat drifts to another topic entirely….again, i am not talking about positive comments, i am just talking about any meaningful comment on the essay or the topic of the essay…..on the other hand what happens here in the comment section is harmless at worst….a room to hang out….cool….enjoy


    again, i think you are confusing Burn with the Burn comments..quiet in comments is a bit ironic since never has so much been going on….we are sending photographers on assignment….we have a print magazine…we are publishing books and selling books at a phenomenal rate by photo book major publishing standards…..well known photographers in our biz, after 02, are calling me to get published here… all of this is in very small ways, but big for us does not matter, we simply want good….neither Anton, nor Diego, nor i want a job…heavy sponsorship or advertising would mean a job for us…we are going another route i think…i will literally have to disappear from Burn by the end of the month to go to RIO to finish the book…exhibition opens May 2012…that is tomorrow for me…so Burn for me will remain a very serious avocation, but never will be my primary drive…i just have too much of my own photography to do right now….three books on deck…darkroom printing etc etc…

    so the Burn “brand” might take on a different kind of meaning than just a “photo blog”…there is an assumption that a brand must do the same thing , over and over…i do not buy that…i think that Burn can be a blog one day, a print magazine the next day, and a seminar the next..why do i have to publish or sponsor the same thing from one month to another? right now, i mean right now, we are sponsoring prints, books, workshops…on any given day through Twitter, Facebook, Magnum and Burn we can reach enough people to put together any number of exciting projects for a wide variety of tastes…why? well, i have a wide variety of photo and general art tastes, so why do i have to represent only one as has been the traditional mold? yes, my own work has a parameter … in one life, any photographer can only do maybe only 1-3 really leading edge books for example….i am going for RIO to be one of them…which could mean it will be a disaster…to do something great , you must go to the edge…this could mean falling off the cliff, or could mean soaring as never before…same with Burn…another type of creative effort…a collaboration….more like making a movie, than being in it…

    if you study the history of Road Trips and Burn , you will see that the “norm” has been defied all along…my whole career list of so called “accomplishments” always always always, had a whole group of naysayers shouting in my ear at every turn…i am used to it…i smile and just keep doing whatever it was i was doing…now the irony of this is that folks only see my output , nobody can see my listening, and reading, and total appreciation of other artists – my absorbing of the work of others…i absorb, then do…pretty simple equation…i recommend it!!

    i digress…sorry…send me some portraits Gordon…let’s show what you do…always a pleasure to have you here….and of course assuming we will meet at some point….

    cheers, david

  • Many great answers already….I like and agree with Brian Frank and MW the most.
    There is lots of crossover from different essays and dialogues. After a few pages of comments they are not even related to the essay. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but perhaps the photographer might not appreciate it. But I don’t think that has been an issue…has it?
    BURN is still doing it’s “purpose”…a venue for the emergent photographer and the amazing EPF grant!

    I also have learned and continue to learn everyday that I spend here and that comes from both the essays and the comments. They are both important!

  • MW….

    you are correct of course…or at least with the examples you gave….still it is a feeling among everyone who actually is involved with Burn, not only me….the purpose of comments? for me, i only see online Burn and everything connected to it , as educational in nature…if it goes off this line in comments, then i see no purpose for the comment section…so this is our question also to each other…the only “final product” of Burn is what we do in print…magazines, books…the rest, online, is “backstage” building, audience AND content…..i would just like that backstage frenzy to be as finally productive as possible….and maybe it is ….looking for perfection does not mean expecting perfection…thanks for your insights, as usual…

    cheers, david

  • A lot of the commentary here points out the gap between the photographer’s stated intentions (in the artist’s statement) and the photos themselves. Many of the claims photographers make are silly and clearly not intended for a BURN audience of photographers and fellow travelers. There seems to be a need for photographers to justify their imagery and technique in grand terms. This is true not just of BURN photogs but of shooters in general. Salagado, for example, claimed to be able to photograph his subjects’ souls. It’s rare to have a place to talk back to a photographer about the claims he or she makes about the work.

    Part of the beauty of BURN is the informality — Panos’ tacking a bunch of our prints to gallery wall in Texas; Chris Anderson in DAH’s loft showing his Haitian crossing pictures and saying that he felt he needed to shoot them, even though he and everyone else in the rickety boat were about to die, just because they were important to him personally and would never be seen by a living soul; DAH’s funny little Instagram comic book.

    The sensibility here is one of play, of people enjoying each other’s company and the often good work some of us are lucky enough to produce.

    So when one of the super-serious, save-the-world essays appears on the site, and the photographer makes grand claims for the importance of the work and his place in history, some us find it hard to resist making a comment.

    I think artist’s statements here should be limited to basic contextual information (names, locations, etc.), without all the annoying posturing. At the end of the day, I don’t really care what a photographer thinks about his own work. I am capable of forming my own opinion without the photographer telling me why it’s so important.

  • To tell the truth I find the comments rather unnecessary. I think Burn has outgrown comments. One of the reasons I stopped interfacing much is because it just didn’t seem like it was about photography but all the other things of political, etc., nature. And while that is a great thing for a specific blog for that purpose, I see Burn as a showcase for essays & photography as a creative force for change. Most of the time I do not comment but always look at the work and read the writing of the photographer. On occasion I do dialogue but it feels almost as if I need to to keep up my membership. That make sense? It is more to press the Like button for the photographer who is being featured than to really express that much. Maybe we just need a Like button.

    I like this discussion because it has kept to the original question and is about the evolution of Burn.

  • Good thoughts Preston. That was one of the things I wanted to voice but didn’t know how to.

  • DAH – would a group essay of the “Occupy” protests from all over the US be of interest? Perhaps an occasional group effort on a topic is an idea that could find a home in an evolving Burn.

  • “I am capable of forming my own opinion without the photographer telling me why it’s so important.”


    Couldn’t have said it better.

  • DAVID,

    By the way, I LOVE the title photo above… the posture, lighting and features of the young lady are very reminiscent of Botticelli, and the background is straight out of an Albert Pinkham Ryder painting.

  • I LIKE Brian’s idea. There is no Occupy here but the other idea of a group essay on a selected topic could be a lot of fun.

  • I don’t read all of the comments, not even close…

    But from what I see of them when they are under specific essays or works in progress, they offer opinions both positive and negative and occasionally useful thoughts or info. But very often they do go off topic. But perhaps that is just the nature of them. However I would question how “educational” the essay comments are.

    The dialogue posts and associated comments seem to me to be more educational and have more of that workshop feel which David often talks about Burn being.

    Just a thought while I’m writing this but perhaps the comments section on Burn could be presented in a different way. For example:

    Comments under essays become “questions for the photographer” or something along those lines.

    The dialogue posts continue pretty much as they are, based on specific themes, with the comments hopefully taking the form of an educational dialogue. It would be interesting if guest contributors also posted “dialogue” writings along with David.

    There could be a “miscellaneous” comments section for other things.

    I think the interviews that appear occasionally is some of the most interesting reading. So they could have their own section and become more prominent.

    Perhaps the introduction of a dedicated “online workshop” section could be interesting too. I guess these could be amongst the dialogue sections, but focused on specific “in the field” experiences that David or other photographers have where they post an image or series of images (ie. contact sheet) and explain what was happening, or what challenge / real life problem they were faced with while photographing and how they approached that.




    pretty funny Jim, since i do not recall you ever being supportive of Burn , even at the beginning…you have been the #1 naysayer of Burn….always…you have always represented the pessimistic side…yet, i have always liked you…and defend you then and now….disagree yes, but defend also yes…..and you do provide a nice relief and view of a hard bitten American newspaper photographer, a breed i know well, and have a deep fondness for , even while totally disagreeing with their aesthetic…

    but Jim you should at least look at the facts which you often twist around and turn into non facts…not good newspaper journalism i might add…

    you used to complain, “hey what is the point, these photographers are not getting paid, this is just an exercise”…so , we started paying photographers…you never acknowledged this…not just the icons but any who we felt deserved support…i do think the icons here ARE VERY IMPORTANT…they DO support the emerging…and it is only the emerging who are receiving grants and 75% of the assignments coming just as i promised from the very beginning…our ratio of 75% emerging and 25% iconic has never changed Jim…from day one to now, so i do not know why you think otherwise..again, scroll or flip through 02 or 01 or watch one of our slide shows…icons and emerging in the ratio as suggested…

    now, we are at at amazing point…the traditional media are watching us…what we could do right now is probably not what we will actually do right now…why? well, just because you can do something , does not mean you should do it…the vote among our staff is that we will remain boutique, not a big operation…as i wrote to Gordon, none of us want jobs…we MIGHT in 2012 go to a paywall for part of Burn..just imagine that we could have a $2. per year subscription for part of Burn that in effect would give us a photo budget larger than the photo budgets of any major magazine…read that line again….we have little overhead, so we could double the current day rates for photographers, and have major talent on assignment here, either iconic or emerging…and have a print magazine, the quality of 02, that would be way better than anything out there..for 2 bucks per year…will we actually do this? probably not..only because i cannot take on that job….fun as it would be, it would kill my work….so we will see how this evolves. so even in your sometimes dark view, surely you can see this a pretty damned interesting evolution of a simple photo blog…

    so i will go to RIO, work on my books, darkroom, disappear next month from Burn for maybe a whole year aside from occasional drop ins….cannot let THIS get in the way of my work…however, i have enjoyed my chats with you and hope you feel that at least some good has come out of all this…i never did have any kind of agenda and i am sure you well know that Road Trips and Burn just sort of “happened”…no plan…just organic or fate or however you want to look at it…

    please note Jim , that whatever we did do here, we did it with reader support and not advertising….nobody leans on us to do anything…surely you can appreciate that above all other things about Burn…

    in any case Jim, i always welcome your view even as it conflicts with mine…this is all a great joy and privilege….the best side of life…creative stuff going on and photography as a life , not just a description of something…

    whether you see the glass as half empty, or half full makes no difference..just pleased you are here, and if you suddenly became an optimist , i would really start to worry :)

    cheers, david


    pleased you like the lead shot here…the woman is Gaye Kozanli Ajoy, an intern at Magnum from Turkey …

    i shot it two days ago with my iPhone, dusk available light, no photoshop, no filters, straight up…

  • Comments are somehow the main caption of the photos essays. The audience takes possession of the essay, and write a living caption in place of the authors, who sometimes also join the commenting game.
    A few comments for inspiration, a few for history of art, for english grammar and photo grammar,
    for opened sensitivity, humor or verbal fight, spot influences and broken rules, to explain the intent, reveal the background, etc.
    Maybe some of the “best” visual essays are universal enough to talk without words, needing no text caption, and as such don’t induce comments, living everybody muted in front of the icon?

  • David, I attempted to quickly research the number and type of comments per essay but quickly gave up: too many!
    I know that the “comments question” comes up regularly with Diego, Anton, yourself etc. and that you have mentioned that you receive advice from e.g. publishers and industry insiders etc. that you should definitely drop the comments if you wish to become a serious vehicle for photography (although remember that they are following where you are leading).

    My own reason for commenting are as follows:
    I love the essay and I want to congratulate the photographer
    I have a question e.g. the motives of the photographer / technical question / how did you get access etc.
    I have read other comments and I wish to add to the debate.

    If I really don’t like the essay I usually tend not to comment: we all have our own tastes and thank God they are not all the same. If I can’t say at least something positive I won’t comment.

    I too would like to see a more in-depth discussion of photography here – although I also find the present comments under an essay worth reading. Perhaps that’s the problem: you (the team) can’t decide if you want a loose free-flowing debate or more in-depth debate (if that is possible on the Internet). Do you want to inform your audience or be informed (and entertained) by them?

    If you remove comments who will be your audience? Who are you trying to reach? I would imagine that the vast majority of people who have contacted you via Burn have been commenters first. True?

    I suppose that you could remove comments for a while and monitor site traffic.

    You write to Gordon “so the Burn “brand” might take on a different kind of meaning than just a “photo blog”…there is an assumption that a brand must do the same thing , over and over…i do not buy that…i think that Burn can be a blog one day, a print magazine the next day, and a seminar the next..why do i have to publish or sponsor the same thing from one month to another? ” – it doesn’t; you have a sophisticated audience that are able to follow the roller-coaster. It doesn’t have to be comments or no comments: it can be “sometimes” comments when you think that they may be interesting.

    Just for the record, thanks for Burn.


  • “I know that the “comments question” comes up regularly with Diego, Anton, yourself etc. and that you have mentioned that you receive advice from e.g. publishers and industry insiders etc. that you should definitely drop the comments if you wish to become a serious vehicle for photography (although remember that they are following where you are leading).

    If you remove comments who will be your audience? Who are you trying to reach? I would imagine that the vast majority of people who have contacted you via Burn have been commenters first. True?”

    I think these two comments by Mike R are on point.
    To move Burn ‘magazine’ forward I think there may have to be a severing from the Burn ‘community’

    On the other hand, I don’t believe Burn ‘magazine’ would be anywhere near as successful without
    the ‘community’ aspect, warts and all.
    Without that, it’s really only another vehicle to present curated groups of photography.
    Burn, whether through design or circumstance has to be one of the few entities that has crossed
    the line from virtual content to physical content and is unique in that regard but, again, I don’t
    think the traction would have been present without the communal component.
    As well, I don’t think Burn would have been a success without your presence and involvement and moving
    forward I think your level of involvement will also likely define in a large part the viability of

  • Simply! Without the COMMUNITY , that Mark mentioned above I wouldn’t be able to “pull” that San Antonio “thing”!
    But hey fine, u folks want no comments? No Black? No Akaky? No fun?
    Silence? No voice???
    U guys don’t want your “voice”?? No questions to be asked? No friendships to be made? Clinical? Sterile? Gaddafi way? THE LEADER speaks and the SHEEP follow???
    Fine with me!
    Let’s all go back to the cave days! The TV days, where YOU HAVE NO VOICE!
    Only a couch and pop corn?
    You (we) don’t need BURN then! You need a TV and a remote control!
    I give up

  • I sold a print? I thought it was just the one you already asked panos to red dot?? hey hey , more money for burn I guess. :)

  • PANOS,

    I totally agree: OCCUPY BURN COMMENTS! :-)

    I can’t speak for others, but the Comments are an essential part of my Burn experience. I have learned SO much from DAH and other Burnians, made some new (for now, virtual) friends, received advice and equipment assistance, etc.

    As Panos pointed out, Burn-ed Garden would not have happened. Nor would have many “real-life” meet-ups between Burninans, or maybe even the last-minute call for self-portraits to be included in 02, and definitely not the “navel-gazing lovefest” on (smiling at you, Jim P. :-)

  • well DAH, I was pretending I didnt understand….
    are you trying to do away with comments — is that it?

    hmm.. so what if the comments are long or short on this essay or that?

  • Occupy Burn Comments? Is there a digital NYPD car we can all publicly crap on? Otherwise, not gonna happen.

  • AKAKY,

    If you find that digital police car, then you’re gonna need this:

  • Union Carbide, Johns-Manville, R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Exxon-Mobile…

    Millions upon millions dead, financially wiped out, homeless, foreclosed on, suffering debilitating chronic deadly diseases. But yes, let’s clutch our pearls and faint on the couch because some loser shat on a police car.

  • As for commenting: I rarely comment on the photoessays because I am always conscious of my photographic limitations and I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I annoy someone enough that they say put up or shut up, smart guy, where the hell are your pictures? If I like something a lot, then I’ll say something, but for the most part I know I’m not at a level where I can sit in judgement on someone else’s work. I just don’t know enough to do that.

    JUSTIN, something tells me that that site is probably not work safe, so I will look at it later. ;-)

  • would a group essay of the “Occupy” protests from all over the US be of interest?…………probably to Americans

  • will make this simple, i’m with Panos….:)))

    though i do LOVE Jim P’s comment about fill in the blanks…:)))))…that was both brilliant and hilarious…..

    i think it DOES NOT matter one fuck’s worth whether an essay get’s 100 comments or 5…or cares…it changes neither the work nor the nature of BURN as it is….and actually, I have a completely different take on David’s take…how many comments that are left beneath an essay has nothing to do with the essay (good or ill, inspired or typical) but everything (or almost) everything with how much the photographer wishes to engage with the audience…i think Panos’ essays and pics have gather alot of comments…with Bones, i tried to be HERE for the audience: to answer questions, to ask questions, to engage discussion/debate/laughter/fight etc…every place i’ve been published, i’ve never had the opportunity (either in print or on line)…and at exhibitions, ditto, though I’m hoping when i give an artist talk at end of month, i can stir some thinking….

    contrary to what MW thinks, i don’t get wearied by negative criticism…shit, i hated the Life spoof, or rather, i did not like at all the work and found it disillusioning, or rather, typical of much of what i dislike about NYC photoworld and orientation (damn, a big silly statement)…and i’ve written ‘critical’ words here too (mw, go through the archive, please), but what i do get ‘upset’ about is the tone of personal attack that do happen occassionally and also when a negative critique is countered by a positive critique/evaluation and the reaction is that…i saw that under Danny’s essay (eventually turned toward good chat) and especially under Daria’s epf, where supporters were basically called obnoxious/pedantic pricks for trying to contextualize the work….but, that’s the web…that’s burn…i do not loose sleep over it and while i do get pissed, it rarely stays or remains…my role (obnoxiously self-assigned, naked emperor which i am, godspeed) has always been to try to bring ideas toward the discussion…yes, i tend to be positive, that is who i am in real life, period….but i’m not living la vie en rose, or would i want people not to express their dislike of something….i’m many things, but a dick i’m not….so bring on the noise…

    as for as bullet’ng Burn with “the bullet: i think in the very near future i can pull the top pro talents together to create a serious tour de force…..”

    well, you will have lost me….because like Jim, i come here to look at and write about photographers who are not TOP PRO Talents…though they do have Top Talent….because frankly, the only reason why i continue to make pictures and scribble words aint at all for the big leagues, but for something else….and i found that here too….

    BURN is david’s….but, as a friend and a colleague, i would also remind him politely that it is actually NOT his….but others….a good teacher understands that…

    allow BURN to be whatever it will…as always that will keep some, lose some and bring new ilk….whatever….

    transformation, in and out….

    whatever y’all do, all the best….things transform….neither better nor worse, just metamorphose:

    the way spurn can chime itself into spawn, without a care in the world, and we’re none the poorer…



    p.s. i would love to go, also, to the mat with Preston’s comment too, but well…what’s the point….don’t want to be labeled again wearied, so i’m striking that word from my burn/fbook posts…..

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